“Multiple Mono”: Masters of Makeshift Mixing

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Walking through the doors of the foto foto art gallery for SPARKBOOM’s kick off event, one immediately sensed an electricity in the air. People coming together, sharing, talking, all accompanied by a layer of ear catching sound created by dj’s “Multiple Mono”. Colin and Rob, the dynamic duo that is Multiple Mono, were kind enough to do an email interview the week following the kick off. Read what they had to say about their incredible musical process.

Give me a history of your evolution as musicians. What did you start out doing and what led you to what you are currently focused on?

I started concert piano training at age 5, followed by orchestral oboe at age 8, and electric bass at age 14. I spent 2 years in conservatory for oboe, where I started studying electronic composition, learning to program synthesizers and create musique concrete. This was what inspired me to turn solely towards creating electronic music, though I still utilize elements of all my training in what we do today. No piece of music Multiple Mono composes is solely programmed on a computer… there’s always elements of found sound, live traditional instruments recorded into a piece, etc.

I think that’s boss. I used to do that sort of thing in shopping malls and airports back in the day with my dad; has a very strange effect when put to music. But I digress. What would you say inspired you to create this unique music form? I have a couple of artists in mind that have similar creative process… Jeff Beck, Radiohead in their later years, and so on.

The sounds themselves are the inspiration. It becomes our job, as inspired listeners, to create music which presents these sounds to a wider audience in a way which best represents how we hear them. As far as Multiple Mono’s concerned, this has been our work since the beginning. And if there’s a sound we want to hear, but haven’t discovered yet, it’s our sound to give birth to that sound. But that’s an entirely different side of the creative process.

Would you like to talk a little bit more about564498_146039552234553_236935847_n “that side”?

Sure. If discovering, recording, utilizing found sound is done because the sound inspires, other times we have a sound stuck in our head which does not exist in nature, or in reality at all. Then it’s up to us to make it exist, using a wide array of tools at our disposal. For the lead track on an upcoming EP release, I wanted to hear a particular gurgling sound that never repeated itself, yet remained constant for over 5 minutes. As if that wasn‘t enough, it also had to sync perfectly to the beat which had already been created and laid to tape. Rob can verify that I  spent nearly two hours using dozens of pieces of gear simultaneously to achieve the desired result… the whole while laying on the floor outside of his studio proper, with instruments spread from the bathroom to the kitchen, using every word I knew to describe my frustrations and my victories. When it was complete, we agreed it was among the nastiest parts we’d ever recorded. So the end justifies the means, and these are the sort of moments for which we work the hardest.

That’s incredible. That being said, do you feel that your listeners appreciate all the behind the scenes struggles?

It’s very satisfying to have someone walk up to us after a set and ask us what a particular piece of music was, or where we found the inspiration for it. We’ll keep doing it until people stop listening.

Later on in the interview, Rob joined the discussion and talked about his story as well as his take on the recording process.

I started playing classical and jazz trumpet at age 10, then picked up guitar, drums, and various other instruments as i got older. Like Colin said, we both attended the same school (Ward Melville) which had an incredible music program, so I was able to soak up a lot of fundamental theory, practice techniques, and performance experience. In college I was introduced to electronic music and digital recording, which catapulted me into learning how to DJ vi549080_10200403760130151_93561626_nnyl and produce beat driven music with a computer. I wound up finishing audio degree at five towns college, and have spent the past 9 years working in studios and live sound environments perfecting my craft.

Basically our creative process starts with either Colin or myself writing a beat or melodic pattern. We then send it to the other for critique, and if it’s something deemed worthy of more work, we then get together and record as much raw audio to build up and flesh out the track. The elements we pull from include found sound (field recordings) I make with a portable disc recorder. I bring it out with me everywhere; to the park, in my backyard, the hospital, shopping mall, casino; wherever really. I upload the raw audio to my computer and sift thru what I’ve recorded till I find usable or interesting bits; I save those and put them in a folder where they sit until we use them,

Once we have recorded, edited, and arranged all the parts of a track, bounce them all into protools where I mix them to get the best possible premaster mix. That premaster is what we send to record labels for mastering.

For more information about Multiple Mono or to find a performance schedule, check out their Face Book page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Multiple-Mono/88259225651

By: Collin Richardson

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